Summit High School Juniors Hear from Holocaust Survivors

Mrs. Urbach speaks with SHS student Martin Jiminez following the assembly.
Summit High School Social Studies Department Supervisor Jim Woods, second from right, joins, from left, Barbara Wind, director, Holocaust Council of MetroWest, and Holocaust survivors Harry Ettlinger and Tola Urbach.

Summit High School juniors in U.S. History II classes had the opportunity to hear firsthand accounts of Holocaust experiences from two survivors.

At an assembly held March 16, Tola Urbach and Harry Ettlinger told their powerful stories of surviving and escaping Nazi aggression. Mrs. Urbach told of her experiences in Lithuania and her time spent in the Klooga Concentration Camp before making her way to Brooklyn and then New Jersey. Mr. Ettlinger explained how his family was one of the last to receive transit papers to the U.S. shortly before Kristallnacht. He attended East Side High School in Newark. Upon graduation in 1944, he became an "About Facer" and served in the U.S. Army hunting for and documenting Nazi stolen artworks.

Flickering on the speakers' table during their presentation was a "Yahrzeit," or anniversary, candle. Jews light one on the anniversary of a loved one's death as part of a commemoration that includes prayers, giving charity in that person's name, and speaking about the deceased and the life he or she led. A Yahrzeit candle is lit during a Survivors Speak program . . . "We light this candle in memory of all the victims who cannot speak for themselves."

Arrangements for the event were made with the Survivors Speak program of the Holocaust Council of MetroWest in Whippany, a member organization of United Jewish Communities, to bring the speakers to Summit High School. 

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